Newcastle interim manager Graeme Jones has revealed that the club’s new owners have given him the hot seat for the next two games.
The boyhood Magpies fan, who was former boss Steve Bruce’s assistant, has taken over for now. Indeed, those above him are continuing to look for a long-term candidate to take the team forward.
Former Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca is the frontrunner now. Reports claim that his interview with board member Amanda Staveley went well and she is willing to offer him £6million per season.
For now, though, caretaker boss Jones takes Newcastle into Premier League matches against Crystal Palace and Chelsea.
Asked what his remit will be, he told reporters: “All everyone here wants is hard work, honesty and to be fighting for everything.
“Those characteristics represent the Geordies. I want to keep standards high.”
Jones was snapped up by England boss Gareth Southgate in the summer to help the Three Lions reach the Euro 2020 final.
Before that, he worked alongside Roberto Martinez at both Everton and Belgium.
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He added upon taking the Newcastle role: “My motivation for Newcastle United is different than it’s been for any of my former employers.
“I’m only interested in trying to get results and having standards that are really, really high. I’ve got a huge emotional and personal involvement.”
Jones, 51, noted that he first went to watch Newcastle as a boy.
Asked about his own plans now he has to make decisions for the team as manager, he gave little away.
Graeme Jones on Newcastle team
“I’m not going to disclose shape or personnel,” he said. “The one thing I can say is over the past three days, we’ve had 20 players plus goalkeepers. They’ve had the same experience tactically both on and off the ball.
“Whatever side I decide to go with tomorrow (Saturday), they’ll all be ready, they’ll all know their jobs. Back to the preparation thing, that’s where my focus has been this week.”
He replaces Bruce, who has opened up on how the abuse from some Newcastle fans has made him consider quitting management for good.
Jones said of Bruce’s exit: “It was one of upset if I’m being honest because I had a great working relationship with Steve.
“A good man. You never want to be in and around that in football because it means it hasn’t worked so, on Wednesday, it was difficult.”